Amhara / East Africa / Ethiopia / HUMIDTROPICS / ILRI / Interview / SLS / Staff

RISING voices: Temesgen Alene, Africa RISING Research site coordinator for Basona Worena Woreda in Ethiopia

Beautiful landscape around Menze area Temesgen Alene Africa RISING Research site coordinator for Basona Worena Woreda in Ethiopia. This is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.

Temesgen Alene Fentie was born in Dessie town, in Amhara region of Ethiopia. He completed his MSc in Agriculture (Plant breeding) from Haramaya University, Ethiopia and his BSc on plant science from the same University.
Temesgen is the Africa RISING Research site coordinator for Basona Worena Woreda in Amhara region. He has been in this position for the last two years.  In this short profile he introduces himself and his work within the Africa RISING program. This is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.

Tell us you previous work experience before joining Africa RISING?

I have worked in different institutions with different capacities at various levels. The first was at Werer Agricultural Research Center (WARC) where I worked as junior researcher on cotton breeding. Then, I joined Sekota Dryland Agricultural Research Center (SDARC) where I worked as a researcher on cereal, pulse and oil crops breeding. In Addition I also served a center director for two and half years. My last job before Africa RISING was at Debre Birhan Agricultural Research Center (DBARC)   where I worked on pulse crop breeding as well as coordinator for crop research directorate.

Can you give us a brief overview of what you do in your current position in Africa RISING?

My main responsibility includes coordinating  and facilitating the implementation of different action oriented research protocols at Basona Worena site; facilitation of innovation platform (IP), field days, meetings and workshops; support local partners (research, office of agriculture and university) in their effective participation on the project activities; delivery of any research supplies required to Basona Worena site; and managing and administering financial issues and managing the staffs located in our site and make sure the overall performance of tour site office is on track .

What motivates you to do what you do now?

Despite the presence of different technology options for crop and livestock, the productivity   of smallholder farmers in the highlands of Ethiopia still remain very low. Africa RISING is working to fill this gap by demonstrating different technologies options and addressing knowledge gap of farmers through different means. This is what motivates me most working in the project.

What do you think is unique about Africa RISING?

Here at Basona Worena site we are working with many CGIAR centres  (ILRI, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, CIP, CIAT, ICARDA, IWMI and ICRAF) and local partners (Office of agriculture, research, university, NGO and private farm owner) to implement different research protocols and diagnostic studies. I believe working with different partners and peoples from multi-disciplines makes Africa RISING unique.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work?

Improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers by providing/demonstrating different crop and livestock technology options and working to address the knowledge gaps of farmers.

What are the most challenging part working in Africa RISING?

It is not an easy task to coordinate and facilitate such a complex partnership project like Africa RISING. Moreover, most of our action oriented trials are conducted on-farm which makes our research effort challenging by its nature.

How do you think you contribute to address these challenges?

Through the course of working with the project, I am developing my skills on how to work with different partners (multi-stakeholders) and people from different disciplines.

What are the lessons you have learned so far?

The most important lesson I have learned is working with multi-stakeholder environment and peoples from various disciplines. Having a crop background, I have got different exposure to participate on livestock and watershed (Natural resource management) related works which gives me an excellent opportunity to learn a lot.

Any interesting story you would like to share with us which you came across in Africa RISING?

On 2013 cropping season the Africa RISING project demonstrated three bread wheat and three potato varieties with their full agronomic practices on the two Kebeles. From this work the potato variety (Shenkola) and bread wheat variety (Tsehay) were highly accepted by farmers. Currently, the two varieties starts to disseminate to more number of farmers (Both in side our target Kebeles and beyond) through farmer to farmer seed exchange and other projects working with office of agriculture. This is an interesting success story which is also contributing to our scaling effort.

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